Cheesburger Brown’s novella Idiot’s Mask is a strange and tragic romance set in alien worlds. The first thing I noticed about this book was how tight the prose was, and (as is characteristic of Mr. Brown) how little the author sacrifices his prose for the lengthy world building exposition of other science fiction writers. Mr. Brown’s worlds are vibrant, fantastic, and alien while at the same time remaining relatable and wholly embedded within the character’s perception.
The narrating character, Idiot, is compelling– a young man dragged into a revolution by happenstance. He finds himself a grifter, a terrorist, and even a fully socialized citizen as the conflict between Marxist classes threatens him at very personal levels. In many ways, this story is a reversal of 1984, as the libertine seeks stable ground to stand on in society. Mr. Brown writes more sincerely than those stories do about what actually motivates people trapped in these sorts of situations, though.
The only complaint I had with the book was the opening line to the final major action scene. Mr. Brown’s usual deftness in handling action scenes fails him for about a sentence. It speaks to the overall quality of this novella, though, that this was my only major complaint with it. It certainly was not anything major enough to mar my overall perception of this work.
Given the option, I’d rate this at an 8.5/10, but Smashwords is limiting.
(reviewed 4 months after purchase)